Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tribute scheduled for labor activist, folklorist Archie Green

Tribute scheduled for labor activist, folklorist Archie Green
By The News-Gazette
Saturday September 12, 2009

CHAMPAIGN – The School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois will host a tribute on Monday to Archie Green, a union activist turned folklore icon who died March 22 in San Francisco at age 91.

Green, who taught for more than a decade at the UI, spent a lifetime making sure people remember the past, according to the School of Labor and Employment Relations. He nearly single-handedly pushed a national center devoted to folklore and the creative heritage of America's working class.

"We feel people should know about his work and his contributions," said Ron Peters, a retired labor professor who headed the planning for the event. "We also want to make a statement that the subject matter he championed is very legitimate and has expanded the frontiers of knowledge."

The tribute to Green will feature remarks by David Taylor, the head of research and programs for the American Folklife Center, along with performances by folk music scholar Stephen Wade, and by Jordan Kaye of The Prairie Dogs, a local folk and bluegrass band.

Other speakers will be UI history Professor David Roediger and Mike Munoz, a union activist and friend of Green. An open mike session will follow.

The program will be from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Wagner Education Center at the School of Labor and Employment Relations, 504 E. Armory Ave., C.

Peters said folklore was little regarded in most academic circles when Green, then 40, with years as a shipwright and carpenter under his belt, came to the UI in 1958. After earning a master of library science degree in 1960, Green spent more than a decade as a teacher and librarian at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, now the School of Labor and Employment Relations. He later earned a doctorate in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at the University of Texas and the University of Louisville. In 2007, he received the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress.

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